At the Dec. 9 meeting of the Crawford Town Council, council members unanimously passed the 2016 budget and related ordinances. Councilor Wanda Gofforth was not present.
"I think you've done a good job," said Carl Page, the only citizen in attendance during the public hearing on the budget.
"Thank you," said Mayor Susie Steckel.
"Thank you," replied Page.
The balanced budget was passed with two changes to the draft. Interim town clerk Leiann Goddard reported that town auditor Pete Blair of Blair and Associates recommends transferring the $10,000 representing one-half of the town's cost share in bringing high-speed broadband Internet access to the town from the Capital Projects Fund account to the General Fund Capital Outlay account. The balance of the $20,000 investment will be budgeted in 2017.
Also, an additional $20,000 will be transferred from the Sewer Fund reserves to the Sewer Fund Maintenance account for replacement of a section of sewer main located on Cedar Avenue. The amount, added to the $10,000 originally budgeted for the project, is based on preliminary bid estimates, said public works director Bruce Bair. The transfer brings total available sewer fund resources to $58,430.
Passage of Resolution 5-2015 appropriates money to various funds for the 2016 budget year, and Resolution 6-2015 adopts a mill levy of 2.42 mills, as certified by Delta County, and gives the town power to levy general property taxes for 2015 to help defray the costs of government for the year. Total general property taxes to be collected, based on a total assessed valuation of $2,649,578, is $6,412.
Steckel thanked Bair and Goddard for their work on the budget in light of the town losing long-time clerk Jackie Savage in June, and her replacement, Toby Stephenson, in November. Goddard is acting clerk while the town seeks to fill the position. Bair named a long list of individuals who pitched in to create a balanced budget.
Due to the holidays, council will not hold a December work session. The next public meeting is scheduled for Jan. 5, 2016.
Trustees also voted to approve the drafting of a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation regarding its recently released draft environmental assessment on the Zanni Lateral of the Crawford Clipper Ditch Pipeline Project. If approved, the project would allow for the piping and filling in of approximately 1.7 miles of open irrigation ditch. The public comment period for the EA closed Dec. 11.
The letter would request that the bureau extend its public comment period and include a flood impact study as part of the approval process for the project after Carl Page came before council to express concern over flooding that has occurred at his property since an earlier piping project was completed. During heavy rains, water that normally drains off of the I Street area and across Highway 92 into the ditch now flows directly onto his property and the three properties below his, said Page, who lives on the 600 block of Highway 92.
Trustee Gill Saunders said that town council needs to address the situation out of concern for the town and for the citizens and their property values. "I think this is a worthy fight," said Saunders.